31 January 2014

Soldiers Discovered Behind A Wall In Freetown, Virginia

I knew that title would grab attention. This is one of the coolest and most interesting stories I've come across in a long time - at least in regards to local history and artifacts. An acquaintance of mine (who shares my passion for archeology, relic hunting and metal detecting), recently made what I consider an amazing discovery in the wall of a house he purchased for renovation. The home is located in an area of Albemarle County, Virginia known as "Freetown." The area itself has some interesting history.  The home was built in 1875 and will be under restoration for a while. A chimney on the site dates back to the 1820's. All of the houses in this area were owned and built by black families during the reconstruction period after the Civil War, War for Southern Independence, thus the name "Free Town." 

So, in addition to some discoveries he'd already made, my acquaintance just very recently found a burlap Morton salt bag, tied with bailing twine and secreted away in a wall. Inside, he found toy lead soldiers in excellent condition. These soldiers look similar to the ones melted down for musket balls in the Mel Gibson film, The Patriot


Oh, the stories those soldiers could tell.

Here's an excerpt from a 2010 article about the community just over the Blue Ridge from my home:
Richard Brown began his first day in the world in 1935 in Freetown, a little community of some dozen or so houses behind Brownsville Market. He’s never left it. His parents were born there, too. And his grandparents set up together in married life there, according to their family Bible, in 1869. Brown isn’t sure if the Civil War freed them from slavery, but he thinks not. They were already free. That’s the way the family remembers it.
You can read more about the history of this community, and efforts to preserve it, here.

Stand by for follow up and screen shots over the War for Southern Independence debate. Coming soon.

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